Sat 04 Dec 10
at 19:56 PM
Report: Man City 1 Wanderers 0
Wanderers were edged out by the narrowest of margins at Eastlands as Carlos Tevez's early goal was the only difference between the two teams.
The former Manchester United man struck just four minutes into the contest to end Bolton's five-match unbeaten run in the Premier League.
City had the chances to add to their score, particularly in the second-half when Mario Balotelli and David Silva hit the woodwork, but Wanderers once again showed no fear when taking on one of the Premier League's big spenders.
Clear cut chances were hard to come by for Owen Coyle's men, with a goal-line clearance from Vincent Kompany the closest they came to finding the back of the net.
But, as everyone has come to expect, it was another battling performance by Bolton who were in the contest right up until the final whistle, especially in the last ten minutes following Aleksandar Kolarov's red card.
Martin Petrov for Matt Taylor was the only change to the starting line-up made by manager Owen Coyle as Mark Davies was rewarded for his inspirational performance against Blackpool by retaining his place in central midfield. Stuart Holden had failed to recover from his thigh strain in time and once again missed out.
Roberto Mancini on the other hand opted to freshen up his side following the midweek victory over Red Bull Salzburg by making no less than eight changes to his team. The trio to retain their place were Carlos Tevez, Kolo Toure and Mario Balotelli.
It was the Manchester City captain Tevez who put his side into the lead with just four minutes played.
Only moments earlier the Argentinean had fired a warning shot with a drive from a similar position, but, after latching on to Yaya Toure's precise slide-rule pass, his shot across goal evaded Jussi Jaaskelainen and found the bottom corner of the net.
Buoyed by the early goal, the hosts were rampant inside the first quarter of an hour as Wanderers had to dig deep to prevent themselves from falling further behind. Indeed, the home supporters felt that they had a legitimate shout for a penalty on 12 minutes when David Silva's shot ricocheted up off Gary Cahill's arm inside the box, however referee Andre Marriner remained unmoved.
After City's early pressure, Bolton began to play themselves into the game. Petrov saw a 25-yard free-kick deflect just wide of goal and Kevin Davies did well to bring Joe Hart into the action with a far post header.
Mark Davies was also starting to have an influence from the central areas and it was particularly encouraging from a Bolton perspective to see the home side pegged back in their own half for quite a prolonged spell.
Even so, with Wanderers in the ascendancy, City still looked especially dangerous on the counter-attack, none more so than when Tevez had a goal disallowed after Gareth Barry had crept into an offside position.
After injury had forced Kolo Toure from the field, City ended the first-half as they started it with concerted pressure in Bolton territory. Tevez found space to pepper Jaaskelainen's goal no less than four times, with the best chance skewed horribly wide with his left foot from just ten yards out.
Zabaleta also endured misfortune in front of goal when he produced the tamest of finishes after breaking through Bolton's defence.
City came out after the break and almost found themselves two goals ahead within seconds of the restart after Jaaskelainen and Knight collided underneath the crossbar, but fortunately Paul Robinson was well positioned to make an important clearance.
Equally, Kevin Davies was inches away from levelling after firing a volley just over the bar following Sam Ricketts' enterprising burst down the right touchline. Indeed, it was an extremely positive Wanderers team that started the second-half as Owen Coyle encouraged his troops from the sidelines.
But as Wanderers pressed forward for the equaliser they were susceptible to the threat of Manchester City's attacking prowess, and somehow Bolton managed to survive a thorough examining by the hosts in an intense ten-minute spell.
Jaaskelainen saved excellently from both Zabaleta and Balotelli while the Italian frontman also struck the post and David Silva rattled the crossbar from just inside the area.
Matt Taylor for Petrov was Coyle's first change of the afternoon on 63 minutes and the change in personnel seemed to help calm proceedings. Moments after Vincent Kompany had come to Joe Hart's rescue following a rare error by the England goalkeeper, Taylor saw a fizzing left-foot shot blocked inside the penalty box by Lescott.
The game was set up for an interesting ending when Aleksandar Kolarov was shown his second yellow card of the game 12 minutes from time for a reckless challenge on Ricketts. The home fans vented their anger at Andre Marriner's decision but replays indicated that the full-back had slid in with studs showing.
Roberto Mancini seemed content to hang on to the 1-0 lead when Silva was replaced by Micah Richards and it almost proved to be a decision that he would rue when Kevin Davies came within a whisker of rescuing a late point.
Muamba played the ball out wide to Taylor who centred for the captain, but just as Davies looked to get his shot away, in slid Lescott to make a challenge which would ultimately help his team earn the narrowest of wins.
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kolo Toure (Lescott 31), Kompany, Kolarov, Barry, Yaya Toure, De Jong, Balotelli, Tevez (Milner 90), Silva (Richards 83) (Subs not used: Given, Johnson, Vieira, Jo)
Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Knight, Cahill, Robinson, Chung-Yong (Rodrigo 82), Mark Davies, Muamba, Petrov (Taylor 63), Elmander (Klasnic 76), Kevin Davies (Subs not used: Bogdan, Steinsson, Cohen, Blake)